Info Dumps and What to Do With Them

I've always heard people talk about info dumps and how they should be avoided. That's all fine and dandy, but I've never really found a source that really illustrates what an info dump actually looks like. I'm a visual person, what can I say :) I guess it's one of those things you learn along the way. I finally discovered it after putting some of Chapter 1 of Redemption up for critique. I think the whole thing was an info dump :) It was incredibly helpful though, and it's redirected me into another way of thinking and thus writing to put the reader alongside the character. So far so good. But it got me thinking - what do you do with that info dump? And how do you avoid them in the first place?

I'm sure some people are content to just delete them. But for someone like me, I really like everything that was in that info dump. It's not all that relevant to the story itself, mostly scenery description and the like. Plus I really liked the prose. Yet for me it would be a shame to just erase it from existence. I don't know about writers in other genres, but I think we fantasy writers have a tendency to get so caught up in the worlds we create we fail to make the distinction of what's necessary and what's for us. And thus info dumps abound. So what do we do?

I'm a big advocate of finding what works for you, but I'm also a big advocate of sharing those methods in case they might help someone else. So here's my method: profile your world. Sort of like a historical book. Throw in all those details of the history, description, location and get it all out. For me it works on two levels - the profile becomes a great reference, and I don't clog up my chapters with info dumps. All the benefits, none of the burdens. I'm sure it could work for any genre, and not just fantasy. So if you're like me and are starting to notice this trend in all of your writings, that's one way to try and help you curb it. Hope it works for you, and if you have your own tips and tricks please feel free to share them :)

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